Academics are challenging for sure, but are invigorating. I certainly spend time in the library, but what differentiates academics at Richmond is the professors. The intimate atmosphere means office hours are encouraged to be taken advantage of. I may struggle with material sometimes, but there are so many resources to help me, that I never feel like it is a mountain I cannot climb.
The average class size is 17 students with a 9:1 student to faculty ratio. I know all of my teachers on a personal level and they all know me by name. I am a double major in Leadership Studies and Political Science but I would say that most people have the same positive academic experiences.
The academics are very satisfying, however this is also due to the fact that I enterred before the drastic tuition hike and was thus unaffected. On the whole the faculty is competent, friendly, and concerned with their student's well-being.
Academics are tough. The professors know you so skipping class is not really an option. Most classes are discussion based so if you don't read you're screwed and it will show.
Academics require a lot of hard work and teachers assign A LOT of reading and assignments. Professors will know your name and so will everyone in your class.
Small classes, hard classes from time to time. Feel that you really get your bang for your buck. Love the teachers and they all know your name.
Professors are good about getting to know you and being available outside of class.
The credit system will make my hopes of getting in to medical school disapear.
Yes, it's sad - ask many students here and they'll haughtily reply that they should have gone to Harvard or another such institution. Indeed, UR's often been called the safety school of the Ivy Leaguers, and admittedly it was a safety school for me and several of my friends. But okay, we're here now, and I know very few who are dissatisfied with the rigor of academic life at the school. In keeping with its liberal arts curriculum, Richmond has an extensive set of general education requirements - some students like this built-in opportunity to explore other disciplines but I believe most see them as at least somewhat of a nuisance. These include Social Analysis, Math, Science, Foreign Language, Composition, Arts, and History, I believe, although students can apply AP credit to these or test out of select classes. I didn't have to take a lot of Gen Ed classes myself, but was definitely annoyed to be stuck in Bio 100 last fall looking at algae under a microscope and writing a 6 page paper about a tree instead of taking Art History or a news writing class. My advice: definitely definitely take your AP or IB tests! They serve you well here. In addition to the Gen Eds, all freshmen students are subjected to the common bonding experience of Core class (it's currently a year long, but this may change). The reading for this class is your basic Nietzsche, Freud, Darwin, with a spattering of novels, but depending on your professor, experiences will vary widely. I'm an English and French major, and really love the classes within my departments. I know the lecture classes in the math and science departments are generally much larger, but for me the liberal arts classes have ranged between 8 to 25 students. I really appreciate the relationship I have with professors here - they genuinely care about their students and some that I haven't had for class since first semester will still greet me by name when I see them around campus. I haven't had a professor yet who wasn't accessible to his students - I was particularly impressed when a French teacher last fall came in on a Sunday to help the students in our class with technical difficulties on a project. I know that in the upper levels, this student-teacher relationship only continues to grow, and I know seniors this year who have lunch with their profs and who have travel plans with them after graduation! There are certainly many students here who are in school for a set career path - we have a Business School and a Leadership School, both of which have very good programs. Students within the Liberal Arts programs might not necessarily have a certain career in mind, but have several resources available to them in the career services center and the experience and support of their professors. Students in the Arts departments generally let their interests first determine their major, and then try to go from there in determining a career path. I feel there's a good balance here between learning for learning's sake and preparing for life in the real world. The involvement of students in academic and cultural events outside of classes attests to this.
Richmond classes are generally capped at 25. It is both good and bad. It is good because the teachers are really able to get to know you - if you have a bad test grade or are doing poorly in class they can pull you aside and talk about how to improve the grade - be it independent projects or additional studying. You also get to know everyone in your class, which is helpful if you need help or a copy of the notes. The downside of having only 24 other classmates is that when you miss class the teacher definitely notices. There is a strict attendance policy in the business school of only 3 absences a semester. Some professors come up with their own attendance policy that reduces your grade by 5% every time you miss a class. As a senior, we are giving ample opportunities to spend time with our professors outside of class. I feel like this is the first year I have really done this. It's really nice to be able to engage outside of the formal academic stetting. Richmond's academic requirements are frustrating at times. There are so many introductory courses we have to take and core courses within the business school that you sort of decide your concentration based on a whim. The first advanced course I took in my concentration wasn't until the fall of my senior year. The system also doesn't allow you to take things for fun. I was interested in so many other classes that were not related to my major or minor, but I had no time to take them because I would not be able to graduate with on time. This is to be expected from a Liberal Arts College, though. Richmond's education is geared to getting a job. From the moment we step on campus we are made aware of the CDC ((Career Development Center) and are asked to make good use of it. I don't see this as a negative, but it does influence academic paths.